Posted on Tue, 3 Oct 17
Adding herbal medicine to lifestyle changes could improve treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in reproductive-aged women. Lifestyle medicine, including dietary changes and exercise, are now considered a first-line therapy for PCOS but do not always result in optimal treatment outcomes alone.
Complementary therapies have been explored with some good evidence of success for myo-inositol. Herbal therapy may also be useful but is not as well studied.
Exploring the possibility that herbal medicine would be a useful addition to dietary and lifestyle changes, a new clinical study compared the effects of a diet and exercise with or without herbal medicine.
Combined extracts of Glycyrrhiza glabra, Paeonia lactiflora, Cinnamomum verum and Hypericum perforatum were given once daily. Tribulus terrestris extract was also given for ten consecutive days from menstrual cycle day 5 for oligomenorrhoeic women and within 1 week of trial commencement for women with amenorrhoea.
After 3-months of treatment women receiving herbal medicine had a reduction in oligomenorrhoea of 32.9% compared to diet and lifestyle alone. There were also significantly better improvements in body mass index, insulin, luteinizing hormone, blood pressure, quality of life, depression, anxiety and stress, and pregnancy rates.
The herbal medicines were well tolerated with no serious adverse effects and substantially fewer mild adverse effects compared with pharmaceutical drugs used for managing PCOS.
“This novel trial provides evidence of effectiveness and safety of the combined herbal medicine and lifestyle intervention in overweight women with PCOS,” concluded the study investigators.
Arentz S, Smith CA, Abbott J, Fahey P, Cheema BS, Bensoussan A. Combined Lifestyle and Herbal Medicine in Overweight Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phytother Res. 2017 Sep;31(9):1330-1340.